From the South Carolina Emergency Management Division
COLUMBIA, SC Although National Weather Service forecasters expect Hurricane Irene to move into North Carolina, a tropical storm watch has been issued for the entire South Carolina coast. As Irene nears, NWS meteorologists predict coastal areas could experience wind gusts up to 50 mph in Georgetown and Horry counties with the possibility of rain.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division recommends people who live along the coast plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down. They may also want to keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
If high wind conditions occur, the S.C. Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources caution mariners that swing bridges over the Intracoastal Waterway between Georgetown and the North Carolina border will have to be secured, making the waterway impassible.
SCEMD and county emergency management directors continue to monitor the storm's development as it passes by our coastline.
Currently, the State Emergency Operations Center is staffed with members of the State Emergency Response Team at Operational Condition 3 (the third of five operational condition levels). The Division is standing by to support the state of North Carolina should there be any requests for assistance.
Hurricane Irene, currently a Category 3 storm, is the first named hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs until November 30. Everyone is encouraged to be as prepared as possible for all the types of emergencies that pose a threat to South Carolina.